Six new ambulances, donated this week (Tuesday, 28 May) to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of South Sudan by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Japan, are a vital boost to the Ministry's efforts to increase access to health care services for its most vulnerable populations especially women and children.
"In South Sudan, women and children are dying because they do not have access to the healthcare services they need. We are pleased to be able to help to reverse that trend through the donation of ambulances to four of the country's hospitals," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
South Sudan has poor health indicators due to years of conflicts which has disrupted the health systems, with women and children facing high mortality rates from preventable diseases and conditions. The estimated maternal mortality is 789/100 000 live births, the infant mortality rate is 84/1000 live births, and child mortality rate is 104/1000.
The ambulances will be deployed to increase access to key underutilized services that are recognized as having the capacity to save the lives of millions of mothers, newborns and children and to support medical teams in the field.
The two vehicles donated by the Government of Japan through WHO will be distributed to Juba Teaching Hospital Blood Bank and to the National Blood Transfusion Service. The four vehicles donated by the Office of the Regional Director for Africa will be distributed to Ajak Kuac County Hospital, Twic State; Ngapagok County Hospital, Tonj State; Mary Help Maternity Hospital, Wau State and Akon County Hospital, Gogrial State to support live-saving care emergency obstetric and others referrals.
"The government and people of Japan are continuing their strong support for South Sudan through this donation," said H.E. Seiji Okada, Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan. "Voluntary blood donations save lives, and we are pleased to be contributing to this effort."
The WHO Country Representative to South Sudan, Dr Olushayo Olu, said the ambulances will also be used to boost voluntary blood transfusion through mobile blood donation drives.
Receiving the ambulances, the Honorable Minister for Health, Dr Riek Gai Kok said the ambulances will help to strengthen the health system to provide the highest quality of care, and empower communities to utilize health services appropriately.
Since 2015, the Government of Japan, through WHO, has allocated USD 6.3 million to support overall humanitarian response in South Sudan, including the establishment of blood transfusion services in different parts of the country and the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) in Juba, provision of lifesaving emergency medicines and supplies, strengthening disease surveillance and outbreak response as well as training of community health workers on communicable disease management.